Your God Ss Too Small

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If your God is too small your faith will be small and weak… don't think God can save us from this or that… And if God is too small then heaven will be too small, perhaps a bit better than this life, but not so good that all suffering in all the world could be worth it. (suffering of the 20th Century, esp. Jews in the gas chamber of WWII ruined liberal faith in progress and left liberals saying nothing can make this right – not because there was worse suffering then, there has been suffering like that many times over, but because we had false expectation that suffering had come to an end) And if God is too small than our service of God will be half hearted and reluctant, our giving will be from our extra instead of sacrificial, we'll meet suffering with 'why me's' and it will rock our faith…

Answer to all those things is a bigger God – and our God is far bigger than we can imagine… That's been the message of Daniel – remember last week, chapter 1-6 God is all loving, chapter 7-12 God is all powerful. Take home message, God is our all in all, and one day he will all in all…How we get there this week:

Daniel 12, context is suffering, as spelt out last week with the Antiochus Epiphanes, and the anti-Christ, the ultimate suffering of God's people.
God is with us in suffering (Michael)
God is limiting our suffering (time, times and half a time)
God is in control of our suffering (the scroll and the promise)
God will remove our suffering (Shine like stars in the universe!)

1) God Is With Us in Suffering (Michael)

At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people--everyone whose name is found written in the book--will be delivered.

This life can be compared to riding a fast flowing river – we are driven along, and not really in control. Sometimes the river is broad and slow and it's nice to float in, sometimes it's rapids and it's a bit scary, a bit rough, things move quickly etc. sometimes we go over an unexpected waterfall. Suffering like being driven by that fast flowing river into a dark cave, no idea where the walls are, what the hazards are, when we will come out the other side, or even if there is another side to come out on… We want to know answers to all those questions and more, but God doesn't tell us all the things we want to know about suffering, his concern is to bring us to the other side – to bring us to heaven ultimately, and along the way to make us more like him and more dependant on him.

He is with us in the midst of pain and suffering. Michael… 

In New Testament have greater solace, Jesus – Behold I am with you always, even to the very end of the age… and not just with us in suffering, but gone ahead of us to the other side – he has suffered, suffered for us I might add, and come out, he assures us we will come out too. I'm here, it's alright… how comforting to hear those words in pain or fear…

2) God Is Limiting Our Suffering (Time, Times and Half a Time)

At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people--everyone whose name is found written in the book--will be delivered.The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand towards heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives for ever, saying, "It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed."

"From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days. "As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance."

In the midst of pain we think it will never end… this is saying that there is an end point, the whole thing is planned out and will not go on forever (alternative to God's control is cycles of pain and suffering that never end.) Not sure what the times means, how long the suffering will last, but do know that it's not all time, not for eternity, a limited time.

How does it help – this is not forever

The Nappy change – don't worry will soon be over..

The worst pain you've ever experienced, came to an end and you don't carry it around with you now.. 


3) God Is in Control of Our Suffering (the Scroll And the Promise)

But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge."Then I, Daniel, looked, and there before me stood two others, one on this bank of the river and one on the opposite bank. One of them said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, "How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?" The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand towards heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives for ever, saying, "It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed." I heard, but I did not understand. So I asked, "My lord, what will the outcome of all this be?" He replied, "Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end. Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand. "From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days.  "As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance."

Scroll –Jeremiah 32.10,11 the field deeds. Sealed scroll ensures that the details are not changed, the future is already set, the contract deeds will not be changed, God is in control. In face of great powers, none greater than God; (war, famine, poverty, sin, Satan, capitalism, modernism, postmodernism, idealism, nuclear weapons… History not meaningless, no accidents of history, nothing that just happens, nothing without purpose Remember that God is perfectly good, loving, kind, gracious, faithful, loving…

I say to my kids 'trust me, I've got you… ' Learning to ride a bike… Someone told me last week when she learnt to ride a bike she insisted her father held onto a bit of string behind the bike, did nothing to help, but gave her confidence to ride… with God he's not doing token things, he actually holds reigns to all history…

Consider the immensity and power of God… Revelation 4.11 all things exist and have their being by God's will

You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.

What calculations are going on in God's mind – billions of galaxies each with trillions or stars… and the minute things, the bacteria and the single celled organisms … all under God's complete control - Matthew 10.29-31:

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

And besides the hairs on our heads he listens to all the prayers of the billions of people on earth – and it's not all a show, he's really listening, really answering, really looking after us all – an immense and powerful God

4) God Will Remove our Suffering (Shine Like Stars in the Universe!)

At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people--everyone whose name is found written in the book--will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.

He replied, "Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end. Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.

As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.

There is a beautiful reward at end for those who trust God. God is our great reward, being with him the goal and end of our faith. Will be worth it. Revelation 21.1

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."

No more mourning…So what? All of Daniel points us to a few clear applications – God is bigger than anything so put your faith in him. Specifics that I have been thinking about for me: Grow our faith by meditating on the greatness and power of God… so we can endure suffering knowing that God is with us, God is limiting our suffering, God is in control of our suffering, and God will remove our suffering in the end

Specifically?

Meditate on heaven,
Meditate on the magnitude and splendour of our God

Less fear of man, more fear of God;
less fear of failure, more delight in God's control;
less fear of pain, more trust in God's ability to limit pain and to use pain for my gain;
less putting aside for my potential future needs, more investing in God's Kingdom right now
less time indulging in 'me time', and more making the most of every moment;
less relaxing, more focus on the prize, so I'm Reconsider my leisure activities – 'teach me to number my days'

Less indulging in sin – the biggest waste of time, eternal waste of time… never, never, never satisfies, always lies, always disappoints

But I can't stop = that is where the last point comes in…Above all pray – not time wasting, but time investing, God is big enough.

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